Republicans pushing health care opt-out bills

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation to oppose federal health care mandates in Texas.

Asserting national-like sovereignty in some cases, the lawmakers were debating a variety of bills Thursday in a state House Committee aimed at the sweeping federal health care legislation signed by President Barack Obama last year.

Many Republican lawmakers say the health care reforms are unconstitutional, particularly the provision requiring people to buy health insurance or face a penalty by 2014.

One bill, by GOP Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler, attempts to outright "nullify" the federal reforms. Another, by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, would allow states to form alliances, or "compacts," to take over certain federal health care responsibilities.